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Students have a ball with TV maths maestro

26 Mehefin 2008

Takashi Doyama, Johnny Ball and Philippa Bradbury

Cardiff School of Mathematics has played host to the well-known BBC TV presenter Johnny Ball as part of the inaugural Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences Annual Lecture and Maths Challenge 2008.

Attended by more than 170 Year 12 students and their teachers, Johnny Ball’s highly interactive lecture, Wobbling on the Shoulders of Giants, provided a fascinating and entertaining account of the role of Mathematics throughout history and the importance of the subject in today’s society.

The lecture is part of a wider programme of events by the Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, designed to inspire future generations of researchers in the mathematical and computational sciences.

A mathematical challenge also took place whereby teams of up to five students worked on puzzles with the chance to win prizes, presented by Johnny Ball. More than £500 of sponsored prizes were donated with a team from The Cathedral School Llandaff walking away with the top prize.

Professor Paul Harper, Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences Research Chair in Operational Research, School of Mathematics said "I am delighted that Johnny could give our inaugural lecture. Throughout his career he has inspired young people with his enthusiasm for Mathematics and Science."

Johnny Ball, who has written and presented 23 solo television series, with ‘Think of a Number’, ‘Think Again’, and ‘Johnny Ball Reveals All’, has won 12 awards, for his shows and videos, including a BAFTA, a New York International Emmy nomination, and the ITVA ‘Presenter of the Year’ Craft Award.

Launched in 2006, the Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. It draws together existing mathematical and computational science research excellence in Wales, including the School of Mathematics at Cardiff University and departments at the University of Wales, Swansea; the University of Wales, Aberystwyth; and the University of Wales, Bangor.